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Memphis Teacher Residency

What is Memphis Teacher Residency?

Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR) is a faith-based, non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status founded in 2008 to recruit, train, and support effective teachers in a Christian Context. During the 2015-2016 academic year, MTR serves 31 partner schools in six strategic neighborhoods. MTR accomplishes this goal through two programs: an urban teacher residency and a summer academic enrichment camp (MTR Camp). Post-Baccalaureate residents are invited to train with a mentor, receive coaching, and participate in Masters in Urban Education coursework through Union University. In addition, residents receive housing and a living stipend. During the residency, residents earn their Master’s in Urban Education degree, Tennessee teacher licensure, and agree to teach in Memphis high needs schools for three additional years. MTR Camp is designed to provide academic enrichment within a summer camp experience for elementary students who live within MTR partner neighborhoods, while exposing college interns to urban education and the residency program.

What is MTR’s vision?

The vision of MTR is to use our specific work within education, in partnership with other holistic organizations, to help restore communities so that all individuals can become empowered contributors to our city and people of all races and classes can engage with one another in peace. In short, our vision is "restored communities living with dignity and in peace."

What is MTR's mission?

As a response to the gospel mandate to love our neighbors as ourselves, MTR will partner to provide students in Memphis neighborhoods with the same, or better, quality of education as is available to any student in Memphis by recruiting, training, and supporting effective teachers within a Christian context. Summarized, our mission is "Christian love expressed in equal education."

How much does it cost MTR to train a teacher?

It costs MTR approximately $50,000 to train and support each resident-teacher over their full four-year MTR commitment. This cost compares favorably to other teacher preparation models.

How is MTR funded?

MTR receives both public and private financial support. The organization currently receives AmeriCorps funds through the State of Tennessee and accepts grants from foundations as well as donations from businesses and individuals. We are grateful for the generosity of Memphians and those throughout the country, which helps make our work possible. Use the DONATE link at the top right to make a gift to support our work.

Is MTR part of the Shelby County School System or the Achievement School District?

No. While MTR works closely with Shelby County Schools (SCS) and Achievement School District (ASD) administrators, principals, and teachers to arrange internships for residents in SCS schools and to provide MTR graduates as candidates for job openings, MTR is an independent organization and not a part of SCS or the ASD.

Does MTR have a contract with SCS or the ASD regarding the number of MTR-trained teachers they will hire?

No. MTR does not have contracts with districts, operators, or schools requiring the hiring of MTR graduates. MTR graduates apply to each entity through their regular application process. SCS, the ASD, and individual schools choose whether to interview and hire MTR graduates but have no obligation to do so.

Where is MTR located?

MTR is located at 2181 Union Avenue, Union Avenue Baptist Church. (MTR is not affiliated with UABC or the Southern Baptist Convention.) MTR will move to Crosstown Concourse upon complete redevelopment of the Sears Crosstown facility in early 2017.

About MTR Teachers

What neighborhoods do MTR-trained teachers serve?

Most MTR-trained teachers serve in Alcy Ball, Binghampton, Frayser, Graham Heights, Mitchell Heights, and Orange Mound. Read about the neighborhoods we serve in the Community section.

What are the demographics of MTR teachers?

MTR strives to recruit men and women from diverse racial, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds. The resident class of 2016 includes the following gender demographics: 71% female and 29% male. Racial demographics include: 7% Asian, 21% African American, 1% Hispanic, 67% Caucasian, and 3% Other.

Are MTR teachers effective?

Yes, MTR teachers generally positively affect student achievement, as indicated by recent Shelby County Schools and Tennessee Higher Education Commission evaluations. In addition, MTR teachers’ retention rates are well above the district average. Read more about MTR results under About/2015 Results.

About the Residency Model of Teacher Preparation

What is a “residency model” of teacher preparation?

The residency approach to teacher training is modeled on the medical residency. Like a medical resident, a teacher resident has an intensive internship/apprenticeship with an experienced practitioner. MTR residents serve as apprentice teachers in the classroom of experienced mentor teachers during their internship. Residents are in the classroom with their mentor during the entire academic school year, Monday through Thursday, for the full day. MTR residents learn from observation of their mentor and by taking on increasing responsibility over the course of the school year. Concurrently with the classroom internship, residents pursue coursework leading to a Masters in Urban Education degree from Union University. MTR is member of National Center for Teacher Residencies (, a national network of teacher residencies.

Is MTR an “alternative route” to teacher certification?

No, MTR is not an alternative route. MTR residents graduating in good standing receive their Master in urban Education (MUEd) through Union University. The MUEd is an initial licensure program, which includes both graduate coursework as well as intensive field experience in a classroom with a mentor teacher.

Is MTR like Teach for America (TfA)?

Both MTR and TFA are dedicated to educational equity and work toward this goal by strengthening the teacher pipeline. There are four key distinctives of MTR: In-depth, year-long teacher preparation: Before becoming teachers of record, MTR residents have 12 months of teacher preparation, including graduate coursework leading to a Master in Urban Education and a classroom apprenticeship for an entire school year. Duration of commitment: MTR teachers commit to the year-long residency, plus three years of teaching following the residency, for a total of a four-year commitment. Christian identity: Fundamental to MTR’s approach to education and community development is our Christian identity. Neighborhood focus: MTR teachers are strategically staffed within specific partner neighborhoods. It is rare for an MTR resident or graduate to be the only MTR-trained teacher in a school.

About the Residency Experience

How much does tuition cost for residents?

MTR residents do not pay for graduation tuition, books, or training. MTR provides residents with a $12,000 living stipend ($1,000 per month), plus a housing stipend.

What commitments must residents make when they enter the MTR program?

In exchange for the benefits provided by Memphis Teacher Residency (Masters degree, living, and house stipend, etc.), residents commit to teach in a high-poverty Memphis school for at least three years following the residency year. Residents also commit to receiving professional coaching and guidance from MTR.

Does applicant need to be a Christian to be admitted into the residency program?

No. People of all faiths are eligible to apply as MTR residents. Most MTR residents identify as Christian, however, residents identifying as non-Christians report that they feel comfortable and respected in the MTR community.